Chicago’s Driehaus Foundation is on a grant-giving roll. Just a month after awarding sizable legacy grants to a trio of hometown organizations (Preservation Chicago, the Arts Work Fund, and the Better Government Foundation) and South Carolina’s American College of the Building Arts, the philanthropic organization established by the late Richard Driehaus has announced its latest act of largesse: a $2 million grant to the Institute of Classical Art and Architecture (ICAA). The grant is the largest such award bestowed to the New York City­–based ICAA, which was formed in 2002 following the merger of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America. Today, the nonprofit maintains 15 regional chapter organizations based in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and beyond. 

The grants awarded so far this year by the Driehaus Foundation, now including the $2 million grant to the ICAA, are the largest in its 31-year history.

As detailed in a news statement announcing the award, which was revealed yesterday at the ICAA's 2023 Arthur Ross Awards in New York, the funds will be used by the nonprofit to establish the Richard H. Driehaus Curricula for the Built Environment Endowment Fund, which according to ICAA president Peter W. Lyden will “significantly expand the reach of our educational programming along with our engagement with relevant subjects including urbanism, sustainability, and healthy cities.”

“Driehaus believed cities can adapt to change and new challenges in thoughtful ways that still preserve the past. He knew education was the key to doing so,” added ICAA’s vice president of education, Edith Platten. “This grant allows us to build upon existing education programs and create new ones to reach a larger and more diverse audience and allow participants to consider design in a broader urban context.”

A Chicago investment manager with a legendary charitable streak, Driehaus was a generous supporter of causes related to historic preservation, classical architecture, public art, and investigative journalism during his lifetime—and this tradition continues via his namesake foundation following his death at the age of 78 in March 2021. The late philanthropist is also founder of the Driehaus Museum, a popular attraction on Chicago’s Near North Side focused on the decorative arts. Currently on view through May 21 is Capturing Louis Sullivan: What Richard Nickel Saw. Additionally, an annual prize awarded by the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture bears Driehaus's name, with its latest recipient being London-based architectural and interior designer Ben Pentreath. 

Driehaus was a longtime board member and supporter of the ICAA, best known for the Historic Plaster Cast Gallery located at its Midtown Manhattan headquarters, as well as its wide range of public programming including travel, lectures, conferences, classes, awards, and signature fellowships at the American Academy in Rome: the Rieger Graham Prize for architecture and the Alma Schapiro Prize for fine arts.

“The Driehaus Foundation is committed to continuing Richard’s philanthropy in the creative and robust manner he established,” said Driehaus Foundation executive director Anne Lazar. “Thanks to his vision and generosity, we have the resources to do so.”